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Kim Bong-gon returns Young Writer Award following controversy over use of private messages

Author Kim Bong-gon (Munhak Dongne)
Author Kim Bong-gon (Munhak Dongne)

Author Kim Bong-gon tweeted on Tuesday that he would return publisher Munhak Dongne’s Young Writer Award and apologized for the trouble he has caused.

Kim, who gained popularity for his autofiction -- or fictionalized autobiography -- regarding LGBTQ culture faced criticism when one person, “disexual,” tweeted how her private messages with Kim had been used verbatim in his award-winning short story, “Such Life,” without her consent. Another person, “0,” also went to Twitter on Friday, claiming his messages to Kim were used in the author‘s debut work, “Summer, Speed,” without his consent.

In his tweet Tuesday, Kim said that he has belatedly realized the problem with his writing after having it pointed out by “disexual” and “0” and that he is deeply remorseful. “I will stop sales of ‘Summer, Speed,’ and ‘Days and Feelings.’ I will return the Munhak Dongne Young Writer award given to ‘Such Life.’” The announcement came 11 days after the initial post by “disexual.”

Publisher Munhak Dongne apologized on Tuesday and promised to give refunds for “Summer, Speed” and “11th Young Writers Award Collection,” the best-selling book in Korea in the first half of 2020. It also promised to republish the book without “Such Life.” It also pledged to review its award after being criticized for giving the prize to Kim, who was an editor at the company.

Publisher Changbi will also provide refunds of a collection of Kim’s works, “Days and Feelings,” which includes “Such Life.”

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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